Slavery

Reparations Are More Likely to Divide the Nation Than Heal It

It's hard to believe that smart people such as Ta-Nehisi Coates and David Brooks don't understand the tinderbox that their idea would ignite.

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In his interminably long, but moving Atlantic essay documenting our nation's undeniable history of discrimination against African-Americans, author Ta-Nehisi Coates got to the heart of his pro-reparations argument on page 51: "What I'm talking about is more than recompense for past injustices—more than handout, a payoff, hush money, or a reluctant bribe." Instead, he called for a "national reckoning" about this stain on America's history.

I've got nothing against having such a conversation, especially at a time when white nationalists are rearing their ugly heads once again. Americans do need to understand that such discrimination didn't just vanish in the distant past—and that everything wasn't made right by the Civil War and the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Vast inequalities, injustices and prejudices remain, which are easily documented through a variety of economic and other measures.

But approving tens of billions of dollars or more in payouts will indeed be viewed as bribes and far worse, which will only make the national reckoning Coates seeks that much harder to achieve. In fact, his argument reminds me of that old quip: When someone says that something's not about the money, you can be sure it really is about the money. Nothing shuts down a dialogue more than a fight about who gets their share of a large stack of other people's cash.

Coates is wrong for another big reason, too. Reparations are not supposed to be about redemption, reckonings or reconciliation. We can try those things—and address glaring problems, such as inequities in our nation's criminal-justice system—without running up another year's worth of public debt. The only possible rationale for paying reparations is to help African-Americans close the financial gap they have with other Americans. Yet the idea fails on those terms, as well.

Advocates for this proposal are far less persuasive at explaining how reparations would permanently level the playing field than they are at detailing some of the ugliest parts of our nation's history. These folks rarely even tout a specific policy (What type of payment? Who is eligible? How much?). For instance, the New York Times' conservative-leaning columnist David Brooks this month announced that he now embraces Coates' position. Brooks' column is eloquent, but his arguments are ephemeral.

"We're a nation coming apart at the seams," Brooks wrote. "The African-American experience is somehow at the core of this fragmentation—the original sin that hardens the heart, separates Americans from one another and serves as model and fuel for other injustices." He agrees that "reparations are a drastic policy and hard to execute" but argues that "the very act of talking about and designing them heals a wound and opens a new story."

That's as close as Brooks gets to substance. Even his premise—that talking about payouts will help heal this long-festering wound—is way off base. How often do drastic public policies lead to amelioration rather than another round of vicious cultural battles? How naïve can a columnist be to champion such a controversial idea without exploring how it might play out?

Most reparations proposals range from creating new social programs to giving out bonds to newborn African-Americans to providing direct cash handouts to each adult African-American. It's not hard to predict the political battles and ugly social-media flurry that would follow. The first idea would not satisfy those who demand redress—and the other two ideas will tear the nation asunder.

Officials will engage in bean-counting to determine who is eligible for payments. How many drops of blood prove a person's compensable lineage? Suddenly, everyone will unearth some African heritage. Do recent immigrants from Africa qualify? Imagine the lawsuits over DNA, the bitter feelings, the anger that racists will exploit. How likely will this solve anything rather than become a starting point for escalating demands? We know how things work in America.

Other hyphenated Americans will lobby for their share of public money, too, given the demonstrable discrimination against members of their group. White Americans whose families arrived after the segregation era will wonder why they must pay for the sins of other people's ancestors. Instead of solving problems, everyone will fight over money. It will end up only being about the money. This is not how to help a nation reckon with its past.

As National Review's Kevin Williamson noted, reparations are embraced by Democratic presidential campaigns, which means it will instantly become a partisan issue. Forbes columnist Kyle Smith adds that people who receive windfalls (e.g., winning the lottery) have no better long-term financial prospects than those who never hit the jackpot. If the goal is to close a financial gap, then this won't do it.

Sure, let's have a debate, a reckoning or whatever that sparks change in some public policies. But it's hard to believe that smart people such as Coates and Brooks don't understand the tinderbox that their idea would ignite.

This column was first published in the Orange County Register.

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    3. If reparations happen, and if they do somehow solve the economic differences between blacks and other ethnic groups in America, the Democrats will lose them as a voting base forever. The only reason they’ve stuck with the Donkeys for so long is in the hopes of free shit. Once they get a stake in America, get decent jobs, houses, cars, and the respect that goes with a moderate amount of success, they won’t be friendly to socialists call to equalize all their newfound wealth away. Reparations would be the death knell for the Democrat party.

      1. Are you serious? How much money do you think it will take to “buy” them off? I’d be curious to have a dollar amount.

        1. Not sure if he’s serious, but as to a dollar amount, think of the biggest number you can. Double it.
          It won’t be that cheap.

          1. So more than $10,000?

        2. Everything is a down payment. No amount will be enough to fix anybodies problem when the problem is somebody else fault.

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          1. This guy gets it! Screw reparations. Sign up all African Americans for a work-at-home scam. Problem solved.

  1. It’s just so preposterous, it will never happen. Like the GND it’s a distraction from the real existential threat facing the country: our national debt caused by social security and medicare. These are abominations and must be abolished. So why are we creating expensive new problems? Because everyone’s scheming to arbitrage the system for personal gain, including Brooks (perhaps he imagines he will be the token white appointed to the reparations board). However here’s what you fail to appreciate: there can be only one winner. And it won’t be you.

    1. here’s what you fail to appreciate: there can be only one winner

      In zero-sum games, that is.

      But economies aren’t zero-sum games: exchanges (of economic goods) happen because both parties value more what they receive than what they give.

      1. “But economies aren’t zero-sum games:”

        Government forced redistribution of wealth is a zero sum game.

        The economy is created by the private sector – not government.

        1. I contend that is too generous a conclusion. Government forced redistribution of wealth is at best a lossy game.

        2. Government forced redistribution of wealth is a zero sum game.

          The economy is created by the private sector – not government.

          Both statements are true; and they leave true the statement “economies aren’t zero-sum games”.

    2. Interesting bit on the Social Security problem… back in the 80’s they told us that if they didn’t put aside money for the retiring baby boomers, Social Security would bankrupt the country in 2024. That was the doomsday date.

      So we had to take a bunch of extra money and put it in a “Trust Fund” so that we would not be forced to use 70% of the budget for Social Security. (and 90% top tax rates)

      So what happened? We spent that money, for one. We pretend that putting it in T-Bills means something, but writing an IOU to yourself really doesn’t accomplish anything. So what if it has to be paid out of regular taxes instead of social security taxes. The point is that I paid for it for the last 30 years, and now I’m going to pay for it again.

      But the funny thing is, with only 4 years until doomsday, I have not heard any talk about drawing down the trust fund. I wonder why?

      1. retirees after will take a 25% haircut. The trust fund will automatically adjust.

    3. Both SS and Medicare have racial components because of the large difference in life expectancy by both income and race and the way those programs are funded. Neither of those taxes is actuarially-based so those who are likely to live longer under those programs pay the same as those who are likely to die earlier. Medicare’s funding in particular (shifting medical prices onto the younger) significantly transfers costs from those who will be long-lived (80+) to the short-lived (60’s and early 70’s).

      Ignoring either race or income in a ‘fix’ for SS/Medicare will exacerbate the existing inequities of both. Very much like the systemic racism of mortgages/suburbanization in the 40’s/50’s exacerbated the inequities of wealth and income that persist today.

      ‘Reparations’ is the most juvenile possible way of trying to get at the seeming permanence of many of these problems. But then again, ‘juvenile’ is far higher than any bar Americans are capable of addressing in our politics nowadays. We seem to be incapable of anything beyond infantile

        1. What an “adult” comment that was?

          1. Maybe. But it was apropos.

      1. I guess SS and Medicare are sexist, as well, since women outlive men. I demand repayment!

        1. I didn’t say racist – I said racial. And yeah – neither account for different life expectancies re men/women either. And failure to account for those sorts of realities means any decision about reforming them will be based, at best, on infantile ignorance.

          1. How would that work? Life expectancy is a population statistic. To tax individuals based on life expectancy wouldn’t make sense. It makes sense to say women are more likely to live longer than men, but it doesn’t make sense to say Barbara Lahey will live longer than Corey Trevor, and should be taxed accordingly because woman are more likely to live longer than men. That is just a wild ass guess at best.

            1. A reform would work the same way you buy an annuity for retirement – where life insurers would be mandated to a)reinsure their risk pool so they are not just cherry-picking but actually insuring and b)set aside a bond into that pool to cover the risks of their own bankruptcy. That central pool would be managed like a beneficiary trust/pension – separate from either individual accounts or corporate/insurer balance sheet. Hopefully separate from pols as well.

              That is structurally the ‘entitlement’ portion of SS. Presumably there is some ‘welfare’ component as well – which would require funding via taxes which would also go directly into that central pool not into general fund of govt.

              The end result would look a lot like Singapore’s retirement system. Which by eliminating the Ponzi element would also provide a blueprint for reforming Medicare into a prefunded retiree medical as well.

              My point being you can’t reform either SS or Medicare in a market-friendly direction without understanding how the market would ACTUALLY price those products – because the market definitely cannot deal with or solve the welfare elements of either program (and isn’t necessarily trusted to follow-through on promises re the future).

              1. No market can price government force and fiat.

                When your best case is Singapore your libertarianism needs work.

                Fuck off slaver.

      2. JFree|4.5.19 @ 12:00PM|#
        “Both SS and Medicare have racial components because of the large difference in life expectancy by both income and race and the way those programs are funded…”

        Stupid comments are your stock in trade, but this one looks like you’re trying to retire the chair.

    4. “Because everyone’s scheming to arbitrage the system for personal gain, including Brooks (perhaps he imagines he will be the token white appointed to the reparations board).”

      I doubt that’s Brooks’ motive. He’s taken positions that put him between warring tribes, so he’s unavoidably exposed to how harsh and trigger-happy they are. If he wants to attribute some of that harshness to people rejecting morals because they don’t like the consequences, I can’t refute him. (Doesn’t mean that his solution will work…)

      People *did* become more hardened in response to the humble-pie and positive discrimination of the late 20th century. I saw it happen. White people don’t want to talk about racism when there’s no way for us to become ‘good guys,’ so statutory/administrative color-blindness stopped being a serious policy and became an election-year-only, Democrat-only talking point.

      I kind of agree with Brooks that the same people are hardened across-the-board, but I’d attribute more of it to Vietnam and the classism that the deferment system spawned. Back in the ’80s and ’90s I saw a lot of bitter Boomers and Gen-Xers lash out at kids over political issues that the kids were way too young to understand. They did it because their own positions were too precarious to take those issues up with other adults, so ‘slaying the sons of Brutus [and everyone else]’ was their only hope.

  2. It’s obvious that division is the goal, above all.

    1. That must be, because I can hear my inner monster growl, “Don’t make me pay for a slave; I don’t want one.”

    2. A-yup. Pains me to see how few people there are that understand, there is getting equal and getting even, and the two should not be conflated. No reasonable person would expect that legislating reparations at this point (250 years after the fact) would not engender a sense of division.

      1. Division is the why the left keeps bringing up reparations. It’s easier to take over a divided country.

    3. Bingo.

  3. Sure, let’s have a debate
    They don’t want a debate. They want to lecture. You are racist because of your race.

    1. “Shut up,” they explained.

    2. +1

  4. There’s nothing wrong with having such a conversation, especially at a time when white nationalists are rearing their ugly heads once again.

    But, look, when one of those reared heads pronounces the word origins like “oranges”, it can be really damned funny.

    Making America Grating Again, one orange at a time.

    1. Did you see how Orange Hitler didn’t even know what country his father was born in?

      LOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!

    2. We get it. your level of intellectual acumen is yelling “you’re racist” when someone disagrees with you.

    3. You were clearly hit in the head with a chancla one too many times.

    4. Old Mexican – Mostly Racebaiter

  5. My ancestors were elsewhere in the world when slavery was around. Still, if any person is found to still be alive from his or her time as a slave, even I will chip in a a few bucks. Hell, it would be worth it just to find out more about the oldest living person.

    The time to have had this “conversation” was around 140 years ago! I also suspect that the wrongdoers were hardly all the same race. Back in the days when the slave trade was widespread rather than confined to…umm…some of today’s less enlightened places like Libya, there were African tribesmen kidnapping people from rival tribes to sell them, and there were quite a lot Arabs involved, not to mention non-American Europeans like the Dutch for instance in on it.

    If you’re going to assign blame many generations too late, I have a feeling you’d ruffle a lot of African coastal feathers and roast a lot of sacred (Halal) cows when identifying all of the descendants who need to pay up.

    1. Slightly further back in time, the Cro-Magnons FREAKING WIPED OUT the Neanderthals!!! (Except for a few lingering genes here and there).

      More-purely Cro-Magnon ancestors (you murderous racist bastards you!) should PONY THE FUCK UP to pay off those of us (like me) who have some significant degree of Neanderthals genes still showing up!

      More Neanderthals genes for me means more money for me!!! What’s not to like?

      1. Given that Neanderthal genes are practically non-existent in Sub-Saharan black Africans (not including those 99%+ genes shared by all humans of course) can’t we just call it even? Eurasian Homo sapiens at least had the decency to give the Neanderthals some sweet loving before wiping them out.

      2. Beautiful.

        And we have the technology to implement this objectively, right?

        1. “And we have the technology to implement this objectively, right?”

          Oh, yes, absolutely! I’m a technocrat from the government, and I’m here to help!

          What could possibly go wrong?

      3. You can identify as neanderthal and be more right than Elizabeth Warren was in calling herself Indian. heh

      4. Muh people!

        #NeanderthalGenocide
        #NeanderthalLivesMatter

      5. You stole that from south park…fail

    2. “there were African tribesmen kidnapping people from rival tribes to sell them”

      There very likely still are.

      1. It’s amazing how many people think Americans, and white people, invented slavery, and invented racism. It is historical revisionism worse than that from neo-confederates and relies on a newly-popular noble savage fallacy that is incredibly dangerous and threatens to undo all of the progress on human rights that have been made over the last 200 years.

        1. Not only obviously not invent, but it was small in size and duration to what we’ve seen throughout history for nearly 5000 years. The idea people to consult with the scale and scope of history just pimp and pump out sticking myopic plans and ideas like this one is quite frankly shocking and astonishing. And plain old laughable.

          I believe Islam still practices slavery.

          1. Scientology also practices slavery right here in the good ol’ USA! Coupled with brainwashing and “Scientology prisons” that is… And no, I shit you not! Research it and see…

          2. Reparations is a terrible idea, but you’re off base and giving the idiots fodder. America’s original sin was creating a new nation/system that made slavery lawful on top of “all men are created equal”. Nobody thinks that was the invention of slavery, just the continuation of it will full knowledge it was wrong.

            1. “Nobody thinks that was the invention of slavery, just the continuation of it will full knowledge it was wrong.”

              Clearly you haven’t seen what they’re teaching in high school history lately.


            2. Reparations is a terrible idea, but you’re off base and giving the idiots fodder. America’s original sin was creating a new nation/system that made slavery lawful on top of “all men are created equal”. Nobody thinks that was the invention of slavery, just the continuation of it will full knowledge it was wrong.

              Except that’s not what happened. Other than a prohibition on counting people that a state is denying rights to as full persons for purposes of representation no provision for slavery is made AT AL:L. It is not even mentioned.

              And, at the time of the founding there WERE no nations where slavery was banned. While people were fighting it–quite a few founders among them–it was not yet the prevailing morality of the time to do so.

              Of your three points, you are wrong on two. In fact, the way that you are wrong parrots those who seek reparation–as if the US bears some special guilt.

              Thus, it is you who are ‘giving the idiot’s fodder’.

              But, take heart, Reparations ARE a terrible idea.

            3. Unfortunately for that argument, the fact that the US is a post colonial economy that relied on slavery is squarely on the European colonizers. We did away with it as soon as it was feasible.

              1. Exactly. The Europeans outsourced all their slavery and oppression, and then were able to just let their former colonies figure shit out themselves, all while they got to keep their ethnostate homelands with all their “stolen” wealth. (I don’t actually think that anything was “stolen”, just using progressive language)

          3. “I believe Islam still practices slavery.”

            Not sure about Islam as whole, but the places were slavery is still practiced, or has recently been revived, are not predominantly Christian, or Buddhist, or Hindu.

            Libya is a case in point. Since they lost their dictator (gee thanks, Hilary), they have become so modern and broadminded that they have a scam going where black people from places like Congo are promised safe passage to the E.U. for a small fee, only to find themselves forcibly working unpaid on some Libyan’s moisture farm for the rest of their lives.

            1. Google Qatar’s world cup construction plans lmao. It’s literally like 75% slave labor. They’re doing exactly what you describe.

        2. You can thank the ridiculous opening scenes from Roots for much of that. It was a deliberate deflection of African guilt for their role in the slave trade.

        3. Surely things are okay now. I mean Mauritania abolished slavery in 2006 you know……

        4. “It’s amazing how many people think Americans, and white people, invented slavery, and invented racism. ”

          Literally no one believes that. What makes you feel that is true?

          1. “Literally no one believes that”

            Wow you’re naive and ignorant.

            1. Seems to me the person who is naive and ignorant is the one who can’t even provide any evidence to prove his point, and only resorts to insults.

              1. The burden of proof should be on the one making the positive claim “Literally no one believes that”. What kind of evidence would even satisfy “It’s amazing how many people think Americans, and white people, invented slavery”? Its clearly an opinion.

                1. Indeed, and the “”It’s amazing how many people think Americans, and white people, invented slavery” isn’t at all falsifiable, because one could amazed if the number were zero or 300 million…the amazement is personal.

                  OTOH, “literally no one believes that” is rampantly falsifiable by the location of as few as one person who believes it. Given the crazy shit people believe, I would be amazed (yep) if there were actually zero such people.

      2. It was a common occurrence in areas where you had a lot of tribal infighting and contact with foreign traders. It happened with Irish tribes selling their captives to the Norse in the Middle Ages, among other places.

    3. The persians enslaved many races including white Spaniards and Greeks. Where are my reparations from middle eastern countries?

      1. Yeah, and the Romans regularly enslaved Slavs and Scandinavians. So in those cases, the slaves were even paler than the masters.

    4. The homeland of my ancestors, Sicily, was invaded and occupied by Arab imperialists for approximately 200 years. Christian and Jewish natives were forced into second-class citizenship. Where are my reparations? I’ll accept a few Saudi oil wells as my fair compensation.

    5. This is such a dumb fucking argument. Whether or not your ancestors were here they couldn’t get their shit together at some point and left. Thanks to my ancestors and courageous people like them your ancestors were able to show it in a country developed and growing and didn’t have to pay a dime for free riding off their civilization building.

    6. It’s odd that reparations are demanded from the descendants of those who fought a war against the slave masters, freed their slaves, granted the freed slaves citizenship, and occupied the South for a century to ensure that the descendants of slaves gained the full rights of American citizens.

      If we’re settling accounts, where do I get a check for my ancestors liberating slaves and granting them US citizenship?

      Given US immigration history, and average 20% white admixture in American blacks, US blacks probably have greater average white slave owner ancestry than US whites.

    7. 40 acres and a mule. Another government promise, undelivered.

  6. “I’ve got nothing against having such a conversation,”

    Great then let us have the conversation. This is not about giving every black person money. What it is about is leveling a playing field that was tilted first by slavery and then by Jim Crow and segregation. We may not come up with an answer but we can not be afraid of talking about the subject. And what we can not do is worry about the feeling of white nationalist who might be upset by the conversation. Because their feeling of a lost entitlement are set already.

    1. I have a feeling you think 50% of white people in this country are white supremacists.

      1. Black people were allowed to own land in many parts of the country before Asians could. They seemed to manage.

        1. Women could vote, blacks could own slaves, there’s a lot more to the stories…

      2. Since Putin’s Puppet won much more than 50% of the white vote in 2016, it follows that more than 50% of white Americans are white supremacists.

        1. Stops being funny when you use actual leftist arguments instead of parody.

          1. ^

          2. I find it funnier.

          3. That comment is not an argument; it is an ad hominem. OBLT is dumb enough to believe it.

          4. OBL is a troll parody. Sadly, he seems to have lost his comic touch. OBL old friend, it’s time to shut it down and start a new project.

    2. “This is not about giving every black person money. What it is about is leveling a playing field that was tilted first by slavery and then by Jim Crow and segregation.”

      The fact that it’s impossible to do in a just manner. There are no surviving former slaves, and relatively few who were directly effected by Jim Crow and/or segregation. The same goes for the perpetrators of those injustices.

      Two wrongs don’t make a right. You can not undo one injustice with another, and making people who had nothing to do with either slavery or Jim Crow to sacrifice to make the descendants of the people who suffered from those injustices is absolutely in itself an injustice.

      1. There are no surviving former slaves, and relatively few who were directly effected by Jim Crow and/or segregation.

        Slyfield, pretty much every black person descended from American slaves, and born in this country, right up until yesterday, is demonstrably affected by Jim Crow and segregation. There is no other reasonable explanation for vast disparities in family wealth between whites and blacks which persist to this minute. And Coates, among others, has provided detailed explanations showing why that’s true.

        Denying what’s obvious to others, and then seeking to deny them a discussion, is not the way to go.

        1. “There is no other reasonable explanation for vast disparities in family wealth between whites and blacks which persist to this minute.”

          Yes, and no. Blacks were actually improving relative to whites during the first part of the 20th century. They hadn’t caught up, but they were catching up. Then along came the War on Poverty, and, Wham! A generation later it got really ugly, and culturally it’s only gotten worse.

          The blacks who didn’t get caught in that kept catching up, but the ones who did get caught in that trap have been utterly devastated.

          What happened, I think, is that some things that were a consequence of Jim Crow put blacks in a particularly bad position to be harmed culturally by the War on Poverty, but it was the War on Poverty that actually did the harming, and it hurt whites who were similarly situated, too.

          1. Brett, try putting your speculations and generalizations aside, and instead deal point-by-point with Coates, on housing policy etc.

            1. Lathrop, you need to listen to Larry Elder and Walter Williams. Both have addressed Coates quite well.

              The destruction of black families, hence black culture in general was carried out by the progressive left.

              1. +100

                The lefties HATE Larry Elders.

                A black man who came from humble beginnings and became a successful American…and conservative.

              2. Right after you stop hand waving away IQ data.

              3. Ecoli, I don’t know those commenters well, but from what little I have seen they don’t address Coates at all. They seem to be subject changers. Coates says, with specificity, that something has been a problem. They don’t refute him. They say instead that something else is the real problem. And all the “elses” tend to be ideologically-based generalizations, or correlation?cause assertions of the broadest sort. I understand that folks who share those ideologies might find that kind of argument convincing, but it still leaves Coates’s points unaddressed.

            2. Brett, try putting your speculations and generalizations aside, and instead deal point-by-point with Coates, on housing policy etc.

              Coates’s question-begging, projection, and money-grubbing doesn’t really deserve engagement on a serious level.

          2. So explain to me Africans who immigrate to America today do so goddamn well for themselves and their children. Do people just hear the Nigerian accent and assume they must be a cut above those other dirty native black people?

            So explain to me why Oprah Winfrey needs a government handout because of her disadvantages and why some semi-employed hillbilly from West Virginia needs to pay for it. How has his white privilege benefited him?

            So explain to me how one even determines what is black enough to receive reparations. Would Barack Obama be black enough?*

            So explain to me who is going to pay for all this. Would Barack Obama be white enough?*

            So explain to me how THIS cash transfer will, unlike every other cash transfer welfare in history, actually solve any of the problems it is created to and not simply subsidize and inflate the cost of Things Black People Buy. This time, surely, government will get it right?

            I’m sure I could go on like this but there aren’t enough hours in the day to properly express why reparations are possibly one of the stupidest, cruelest, and most arbitrary conceivable “solutions” to a “problem” that can’t even be properly defined.

            * As a side note, I love Barack Obama’s ancestry. Nothing shits on proggie dreams of racial “justice” harder than the first black president having no slave ancestry from his black father and only a theoretical amount via his white mother whose family, at one point in the distant past, owned slaves or indentured servants.

        2. “There is no other reasonable explanation for vast disparities in family wealth between whites and blacks which persist to this minute.”

          Actually, there are several explanations, but we’re just not allowed to discuss them. So much for a “national conversation.”

          1. Successful professional blacks I work with, in general, spend much more than whites of equal income on big homes, expensive cars, clothes, vacations, etc. Not that some whites don’t do the same – but a far larger percentage of blacks spend more and save less, leaving less for their descendants. This explains a large part of differences in family wealth. Those of Asian heritage I work with generally spend far less on frivolities than either blacks or whites, hence they have more to both invest in their children’s education and leave as an inheritance.

        3. “Slyfield, pretty much every black person descended from American slaves, and born in this country, right up until yesterday, is demonstrably affected by Jim Crow and segregation.”

          As I said above, two wrongs don’t make a right, and you can’t correct one injustice by inflicting another.

          When there is a detailed and specific plan that does not use the force of government to coerce even the smallest sacrifice from any individual who doesn’t have direct personal responsibility for those wrongs, there will be something worth discussing.

          Anything else just creates a new injustice.

        4. How about all the African’s who’ve immigrated in the last 50 years?

        5. No reasonable explanation other than the culture black America has embraced over the past 30 years is one that is self deprecating, self defeating, that devalues education, individuality, and self responsibility.

          There’s just too many bad statistics for black Americans that have nothing to do with white Americans. Things like lower high school graduation rates, lower test scores, higher instances of stds, higher rates of children born out of wedlock, higher rates of abortion..etc etc.

          White people aren’t blocking the doors to the school bus each morning and the people at rite aid aren’t hiding the condoms when a black guy walks in.

          The issues will never be solved until black people embrace individual liberty and take more responsibility for themselves. And if not themselves, they need to start with their kids then.

      2. The leveling of the playing field?

        Isn’t that’s what’s going on now?

        In the late 1400s the Europeans finally managed to oust the Middle Eastern and African conquerors who’d been there for 700 years.

        We’ve got about 200 years before the field, at least WRT Africans and Middle Easterners is level.

        But I think Europeans are going to let them off early.

        1. I think the Europeans are going to surrender without a fight this time.

    3. The stop voting Democrat.

    4. So just how many “white nationalists” do you believe there are? I believe you are promoting a phantom menace to bolster a very weak argument.

      1. I did not bring up white nationalist, that was brought up by the authors. I don’t know how many we have in this country. I do believe that those out there feel embolden and I don’t like this happening. Are they a menace? Only if we allow them to be such. We can not be afraid to talk about racial relation for fear of offending them.

        1. Do you avoid talking about murder and rape statistics, for fear of offending?

    5. What it is about is leveling a playing field that was tilted first by slavery and then by Jim Crow and segregation.

      There’s nothing about reparations, especially when promoted by the likes of a perpetually resentful dweeb like Ta-Nehisi Coates, that’s going to level the playing field.

      1. This is all true but kind of a hilarious argument for someone to make on a libertarian site.

    6. This is not about giving every black person money.

      Right. It’s about winning votes!

    7. “What it is about is leveling a playing field that was tilted first by slavery and then by Jim Crow and segregation.”

      If it were about “leveling the playing field”, we wouldn’t be telling white hillbillies from the backwoods of West Virginia that they’re the evil oppressor overlord and so should be fucked over in college admissions and job applications.

      If it were about leveling the playing field, we’d lift the people at the bottom of that field up, regardless of race, instead of pitting them against each other, with poor whites being told to go fuck themselves because they were born the wrong color.

    8. And when whatever you decide is best fails in the same manner as the War on Poverty and affirmative action and may in fact increase the achievement gap as did those two vote- buying schemes, then what?

  7. I would hope a move like this would be unconstitutional because the flip side of this is taking money from a racial group.

    1. Except it isn’t the flip side – it’s literally what will be done with reparations. They’re not going to pony up reparations from black taxpayers, are they? The idiots proposing this are certainly not going to give money to blacks from taxes paid into the system by blacks, presumably. It will be “above and beyond” and so what you will get is increased taxes of whites to pay blacks. I will pay extra so Michael Jordan and Samuel Jackson can get reparations.

      1. “Except it isn’t the flip side – it’s literally what will be done with reparations. They’re not going to pony up reparations from black taxpayers, are they?”

        Why not?

        Given US immigration history, and average 20% white admixture in American blacks, US blacks probably have greater average white slave owner ancestry than US whites.

        And where do all the descendants of the whites in the North, the 2 to 1 majority over Southern whites, get their checks for liberating the slaves and granting them citizenship?

        A *reckoning* has debits *and* credits.

  8. Obama’s father and his ancestors were never enslaved by Americans (or even Europeans). There’s a pretty good chance his father’s ancestors captured and sold the slaves to the Arabs and Europeans. His mother, on the other hand, is descended from slave owners (and also very distantly to a slave). So Obama is descended from white slave owners and possible black slave traders, and not from any American slave. Would he get reparations? There are millions of African Americans who came from Africa freely after slavery was ended, and as with Obama, many of them were likely descended from the Africans who made money selling the slaves to the Americans. How do they fit into the mix?

    1. colorblindkid, a personally reasonable question for the discussion the OP suggests we shouldn’t have.

      1. Or we have a system where instead of blanket “everyone meeting this definition gets money” rule (which then becomes a fight over what the definition in), wouldn’t we be better off with a blanket rule:

        If you can show that the government caused you injury itself, and that injury was one that the Constitution protects you against, you get compensated.

        So the Japanese-decended American who were evicted from their homes in California in the 1940s get money, as can the American kids of Mexican descent who are held all day at the border and miss school.

        But that would only capture damages done directly by the government, what about policies of the government that have that effect? Let’s add that in too.

        What about the Congolese who is currently a slave in Lebanon, being forced to work for an American corporations subsidiary? Let’s make this extraterritorial.

        What if one of the wrongdoers here can’t pay? I’m good with paying it from the public Fisk, and taking it out of their hide later (I mean that seriously, I’ll bet there’s a market in high end book bindings to recoup our costs).

    2. Several years ago, I read an article about the linguistic origins of Ebonics. Seems there is a definite Irish influence. In the Comonial era, there were Irish indentured servants working alongside slaves and, practically speaking, slaves themselves. Will modern Irish-Americans get reparations too? And how about Japanese-Americans? That’s more recent!

      1. No Irish need apply.

    3. I get your point, but for clarification most black slaves sent to the Americas were from western Africa (captured and sold by fellow Africans btw). Obama’s father was from Kenya, which is on the Indian Ocean and therefore Obama’s ancestors probably aren’t complicit in the American slave trade.

      1. You are right about that. The overall point still stands. lol

  9. Brooks and Coates should jerk each other off because this is all it is: Mental masturbation.

    It’s a remedial and cynical idea posited by a couple of faux-intellectual pretenders.

    Yeh force people who had no role in slavery to hand over a straight out hand out because ‘justice’. Absolute absurdity of the highest level.

    I would love to see the picture of a low income worker whose immigrant family came in the 1920s handing a reparations cheque to millionaire blacks like Lebron.

    Healing. The stupid way, by and for stupid people.

    1. +100

      The aggrieved will never be satisfied. Talking about some sort of potential atonement only perpetuates the myth that there’s something in this universe that could ever make black Americans feel that justice has been done.

    2. Most professional black athletes are broke and/or in jail just five years after leaving the game.

      Maybe instead of reparations, we should be taxing their paychecks at 80 percent–enough for them to afford a decent house or apartment, while keeping their parasitic entourage and fake “cousins” from trying to take advantage of the ghetto lottery.

      Half of that tax goes into a personal trust fund that they can only access a certain percentage of each year after they retire or are cut. The other half gets sent to a foundation that promotes education and stable families for the black community at large. The leagues, in turn, match the money that’s taken out of their paychecks, out of the TV and merchandise revenues. That would be a better long-term solution than anything reparations would accomplish.

      1. Sure. But please dont tell them they have to buy health insurance!

  10. Since Obama is one half white and one half black, he gets nothing because his white side enslaved his black side.

    And this is why he is so confused and hurt.

    1. And the Muslim side of his family enslaved the Christian side.

  11. It’s not actually about the money, though that would be a nice bonus.

    It’s about two things:

    1) “To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women!” Forcing people who are innocent to bow down and confess their guilt to you is a power trip. Coates has had a states of that with leftists abasing themselves, he wants to mainline it.

    2) Making racial tensions worse, not better.

    That second is the big one. People like Coates live on racial tensions, it’s the only thing that makes them matter, gives them any power or influence. Racial tensions are their business. Why would they want them to get better?
    There’s nothing in it for Coates if racial tensions get better, he’d be out of a job and have to find some honest work.

    There’s no part of this racial reparations movement that’s about anything good. And it’s not worth pretending that there is.

    1. +10

  12. There will never be any reparations. Everyone in the USA who owned slaves is dead. Everyone who was a slave is dead. Its all descendants left alive.

    America is not getting any reparations from the British for the way that they treated Americans of that era and descendants of slaves are not getting any money.

    Be an American and make American better for all Americans by stop being a fake victim.

    1. I’m not getting any reparations from England for starving my Irish ancestors out of their homes during the potato famine, either. Did you know that during the entire potato famine, Ireland was producing enough food to feed everybody? The British landlords were exporting it and letting people starve.

      But I’m not expecting any reparations. Water under the bridge, and all that.

      1. Brett, did the British continue to starve your ancestors after they emigrated to America, right down to your father’s generation? Are they starving you now?

        Nobody needs this discussion more than the people who are sure it is irrelevant.

        1. No, and there’s no analogy to that in US racial relations, either. If anything, we’ve had a couple generations now of “affirmative action” mandating explicit racial discrimination in favor of blacks.

          1. I see at least one thing getting lost in the sauce here, and that is, what is a good working definition of slavery? … I say, it is NOT being allowed to control the fruits of your labor! I don’t care how many or how few chittlins or giant fillet mignon steaks or cans of dog food they feed you, how many Game Boys or cans of beer they reward you with, if you can’t control the disposition of the fruits of your labor, you are a slave.

            In American today, add fed and state and local taxes, and we are roughly half free, half slave. I have not heard of ANY funding source proposed for “reparations” here, besides taxes. This is an attempt to fix historical wrongs, with more wrongs today! Make up for past slavery, with more slavery today!

            Thank Government Almighty though, it will never happen!

        2. The last thing the TOP MEN! pushing a conversation on race want is a discussion.

        3. Brett, did the British continue to starve your ancestors after they emigrated to America, right down to your father’s generation? Are they starving you now?

          Get the fuck out of here. There’s no one starving in this country other than abuse victims and homeless people. You know what the black kids (and some of the whites who LARPed as black kids) at the “diverse” high school I attended did with their free lunch tickets? Sold them for cash. No one who’s “starving” does that, especially when they’re walking around in $100 Jordans and Starter jackets.

          If there’s one thing that this country doesn’t lack for, it’s cheap food and people to consume it, and our obesity rates prove it.

    2. lovesconstitution1789, fake victim? If you weren’t hiding behind a pseudonym, we could arrange a wager. I would bet that I can walk into the maternity ward at any large American hospital, and separate the babies there into two classes, ranked according to family wealth, using no other evidence but what I could see right there and then. You would bet against that. I would agree to take the bet as many times as you would offer it, until you went broke.

      Real victims of slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation are being created every day, right now, in America. If you don’t think it’s true, you ought to welcome a national discussion to prove your point.

      1. No one is arguing that, generally speaking, blacks are worse off in terms of family wealth and income, than whites (or Asians for that matter). What we disagree about it the cause of the current disparities. What you attribute to the residual effects of slavery and Jim Crow (explain why the same disparities are present in your home state in New England), others can demonstrably attribute to other causes; causes which we cannot discuss, no matter how many facts, figures, and logical connections we can bring to bear on the discussion, because a true and genuine “national discussion” is not what blacks or leftists like you actually want.

      2. No one is arguing that, generally speaking, blacks are worse off in terms of family wealth and income, than whites (or Asians for that matter). What we disagree about it the cause of the current disparities. What you attribute to the residual effects of slavery and Jim Crow (explain why the same disparities are present in your home state in New England), others can demonstrably attribute to other causes; causes which we cannot discuss, no matter how many facts, figures, and logical connections we can bring to bear on the discussion, because a true and genuine “national discussion” is not what blacks or leftists like you actually want.

      3. Even if you could do that, which you really couldn’t especially in some place like West Virginia, that doesn’t prove anything about past oppression. If, in a particular hospital, the result came out how you expect, a racist could claim it’s the result of genetic inferiority or superiority. Then, I suppose you’d want to have a “national discussion” about which of those two choices is the true root cause of some kind of perceived economic disparity, because genetics or past oppression are definitely the only two possible explanations.

      4. I think it would be very interesting for you to try that in Atlanta or it’s northern suburbs. On the flip side, it would be interesting to see it in Nebraska also. I agree that many, but not all and maybe not most, white Americans have greater wealth because of Jim Crow laws and segregation. However, large parts of the country didn’t have Jim Crow laws in place. If you sorted 25 babies in Nebraska, you should have 22 white babies, one black baby, and one other. Are you telling me you can just by looking at the babies in their hospital-issued blanket tell me exactly where all 22 of those white babies line up on the social wealth scale and how exactly they compare to the 1 black and 1 other baby? Because that would be really impressive.

        1. Ve-Ra, that’s why I said “large” American Hospital?to give myself a little room for statistics to do their magic. But I concede that if you cherry pick the location to exclude a representative black sample, then it wouldn’t work. But since you get what my point is, what’s yours?

          On re-reading, I note that you may have misread (or I was unclear) that my bet proposes to create ranked classes, not ranked individuals. Doing that, even in Nebraska, I would take the bet and expect to win far more often than I lost. Pretty sure that even in Nebraska, most of the time, 22 white babies will come from greater average family wealth than 1 black baby will. Do you suppose otherwise?

      5. Democrats created Jim Crowe and segregation.

        Your little dream bet is not based on a premise that can be measured.

        Lefties dont pay their bets anyway.

    3. “Everyone in the USA who owned slaves is dead. ”

      We probably have a number of immigrants who were slave owners in their lifetimes.

      Viva la cultural enrichment!

  13. Here’s your conversation:

    “No fucking way. And I’ll fucking kill you if you try.”

    1. Sensible, and to the point.

    2. Like it.

    3. There can be value in dashing unrealistic hopes.

      Like moving the US embassy to Jerusalem.

  14. This is an idea so stupid, and morally hazardous that only an intellectual could buy into it. Especially being put forth by a racist like Coates.

    On the one hand, race based benefits would only serve to confirm what the white nationalists have been saying and expand their appeal. On the other hand, it only serves to shift blame for what an absolute failure social progressive policy has been for many black Americans.

    This is not a worthwhile conversation to have at all.

  15. Reparations is actually not a bad policy proposal and is justified. But, what complicates the proposition is determining those who suffered from government discrimination (be it slavery or Jim Crow) sixty years after the fact. But, if a one time reparation could be agreed upon, in exchange for the end of affirmative action, I don’t think there’s much wrong with it. Imagine if the federal government sold federal lands in the West and used the proceeds to fund reparations? That would be great

    1. “Once you pay the Danegeld, you’re never rid of the Dane.”

      It works the same way with reparations. You can never pay them just once.

    2. Only the Southern Blacks would get money, so Northern Blacks would get jealous.

      At this stage, discussing it really just gives Lefties another stupid platform to further divide Americans from American’ts

  16. Why don’t we do what Europe did? Oh, wait, did you think slavery was a uniquely American stain? Nope, most European nations abolished slavery around same time we did, with it sticking around in some of their colonies for another few decades, and conditions that were basically slavery in all but name persisting even into the 20th century in some colonial holdings (such as the Congo Free State)

    1. The Europeans simply outsourced their slavery to their colonies, America being one of them, and when they ended it they could cut ties entirely and not have to worry about the consequences of all the newly freed slaves because their homelands were still ethno-states. Fuck any European who think they have the high ground.

      I’ve always said that America is far more similar, both historically and culturally, to other former multi-ethnic slave-holding colonies like Brazil and Mexico than we are to any European country, or Australia or Canada, and compared to them, we’re doing just fine.

  17. Stop virtue signaling.

    “I’ve got nothing against having such a conversation, especially at a time when white nationalists are rearing their ugly heads once again”

    No they arent. The media is just focusing on it to try to shift the violence of antifa and leftist groups while seeking to damage trump and conservatives. Per FBI numbers the group sizes have remained fairly static. It is why everyone who doesnt now to the left and identity politics is now alt right and racist. It is why the SPLC puts anyone right of map on its list of hate groups. Stop pushing the narrative reason, you should know better.

    1. Its now fashionable to label ‘anti-left’ as white nationalists.

    2. But doesn’t the white nationalist assault on Jussie Smollett prove it is rearing its ugly head.

  18. Get the conversation rolling by having a Democrat in both Senate and House introduce specific reparations language.
    Then Mitch can force a vote on it and see who is willing to vote Yes and who isn’t. I’m betting that a majority of Democrats would be opposed. Of course, massive defeat wouldn’t shut some of them up.

  19. Nothing shuts down a dialogue more than a fight about who gets their share of a large stack of other people’s cash . . .

    Depends. Whether slave owners got to keep all the cash belonging to their slaves was more-or-less the dialogue which led to gag rules in Congress, before the Civil War. Didn’t stop the debate, though.

    Why would anyone suppose a gag on reparations debate now would be any more constructive?

    1. No such gag would work – thanks, First Amendment! – and hopefully there won’t be a gag on the anti side, either.

      1. Shut it, racist. You need to check your privilege.

        In fact, your violent racism is making me feel unsafe. Maybe you should just leave….

        /professionally aggrieved proggie.

  20. Instead, he called for a “national reckoning” about this stain on America’s history.

    Except there’s never going to be a “reckoning”, a settlement of debts. No matter how you try to balance the debits and credits, they’re always going to come up with a balance owed of infinity dollars. You can’t repay a debt owed to dead people, nor can you be held liable for debts incurred by dead people, so if you’re trying to calculate an imaginary debt you’re going to come up with an imaginary figure.

    Never mind the fact that people like Coates always have the option of undoing the damage done to their forefathers by the simple expedient of moving “back” to Africa. Why doesn’t Coates escape this horrid racist shithole of a country by moving to Zaire? I’d have to guess because – thanks to the suffering of his ancestors – Coates enjoys a better life here than he would if his ancestors had never been enslaved and he wound up being born in Africa, and he knows it. Stop whining about some shit that happened to somebody else and insisting that you’re owed something they earned.

    1. Jerryskids, that “Go back to Africa,” crap has been floating around since before the Civil War. Frederick Douglass made fools out folks who tried to debate him on it. And here you are, back at it, apparently looking for someone to make a fool out of you.

      Coates isn’t any more interested than you would be in a life better for black people than they could have had in Zaire. He wants black people born here to have the same chance at the kind of life you expect to have, because you were born here. Someone would have to be a stupid racist to think that’s unreasonable.

      1. And giving them money because of their race will NOT help them . Been there done that. Affirmative action has been on the books for how long now ?

        By reparations you open a shitcan of worms. Should the kids of a Nigerian immigrant get a leg up over my kids ( I’m a middle east immigrant ) because I have paler skin?

        You are calling for a new race hierarchy with POC on top. Go away.

      2. He wants black people born here to have the same chance at the kind of life you expect to have, because you were born here.

        No he doesn’t. Coates is a black nationalist. He has no interest in establishing an egalitarian society or balancing the scales. His worldview is based entirely on years of resentment for stronger, more athletic black kids bullying him as a kid, combined with an unwarranted view of himself as the modern James Baldwin.

        And anyone who thinks reparations are going to accomplish what you say he wants, is straight-up retarded.

        1. His worldview is based entirely on years of resentment for stronger, more athletic black kids bullying him as a kid, combined with an unwarranted view of himself as the modern James Baldwin.

          Remarkable. How do you know that?

          1. It’s called “reading”. You should try doing it with books that don’t require crayons to finish.

            1. Red Rocks, what did you read? I didn’t know that about Coates. I would like to see who reported it.

              1. Read his writing, it’s pretty self evident after about three articles. You can pretend otherwise, but he’s a younger, less eloquent version of Al Sharpton.

              2. Red Rocks, what did you read? I didn’t know that about Coates. I would like to see who reported it.

                Stop. The dude literally rips off Baldwin’s literary tropes, and was quite open about the fact that he blamed the bullying he got from stronger black kids in school on white “systemic racism.”

                Either you really are this ill-read, or are just being passive-aggressive. I suspect it’s a little of both.

                1. Who reported that?

                  1. You need to read someone’s reports rather than his own words? How lazy.

  21. We’ve already had public policies justified in reparations-like language. Who’s been helped, apart of course from the political class of all races?

    Proposals to level the playing field by aid to black children? The most effective of these would be school-choice aid (not just for one race, either), yet that provokes screaming opposition because it takes money away from the educator/political class if they fail to provide the education parents want.

    Riffing on Greenhut – does Obama pay taxes in his white capacity and get the money back in his black capacity? This country didn’t wait for the Supreme Court in 1967 to start “mixing the races” – so is the money prorated to account for white/Indian/etc ancestry?

    Seriously, this is so many kinds of wrong that *of course* the gelded “conservative” Brooks endorses it.

    1. So, imagine that someone has ancestors who were black slaves, some who were mixed-race “free mulattoes,” some who were white slaveowners, some white Union soldier who lost an arm at Stones River, a white doctor who practiced part in the South and part in the North, etc., etc? What formula would be enough to figure out how much reparations you need to pay and how much you should get?

      And the underground market for fake genetic histories – I suppose they’ll affix heavy penalties for doctoring your DNA records, but there will be people willing to do it for the right amount of money.

      Do you run a pencil through the applicant’s hair, like the old South African Racial Classifications Board? Do we go by a person’s racial reputation in the community regardless of DNA?

      1. Does Meghan Markle get a cut, or does her mixed-race heritage or her marriage to a British royal put her in the “privileged” category?

        Once we open up that can of worms, what do we do with African-American entrepreneurs, engineers, etc., especially if some of them say it’s beneath their dignity to ask for reparations? Do we take the money they turned down and give it to Coates instead, assuming he’ll better know how to spend it?

  22. I’m disappointed in this piece. I think Reason should assign its most prominent racial justice advocate Shikha Dalmia to write “The Libertarian Case for Reparations.”

    1. Gag

    2. Shikha: Whitey is the Devil.

  23. …smart people such as Ta-Nehisi, the guy with literally only one thought in his head? If that?

  24. This seems more like they want payment to try to correct their mistake of following D.E.B. Dubois over Booker T. Washington a hundred years ago. That won’t work till the dump the Democrats and stop sucking off the government teet.

  25. Ok let’s say 100 billion in reparations are paid out to African American descendants of slaves from 155 years ago; now wait just a minute, what do Native Americans get? It was their land before the Europeans showed up and massacred them with guns, germs, and steel. And a holocaust that the US continued well into the 20th Century.

    And then what about Latinos? They had the entire Southwest taken from them in 1842; never mind all the discrimination and difficulties they will clearly prove that happened since.

    And then Asians; what about the descendants of “Coolie” workers, some of whom were murdered so as to not be paid for the labor? They should certainly get a fair and just cut of that.

    And then what about LGBT people and all of the burdens they have born through forever? What is their cut?

    Anyone else want to pile onto this? Point is it will solve nothing, foment resentment [and REAL white nationalists and demagogues], never mind overly burden an already indebted country.

    1. Quo Usque Tandem, some of those are fair questions to raise in the dialogue you seem not to want. They aren’t at all reasonable questions to stack against having the dialogue.

      1. No, dumbass, the point is that reparations aren’t going to do a fucking thing to accomplish an egalitarian society, because there are no shortage of people looking to get their cut in the Oppression Olympics, thanks to roughly 50 years of Hate YT rhetoric coming from the left.

      2. Uh, Steve…guess what? YOU’RE HAVING THAT DIALOGUE RIGHT NOW! (And, by my reckoning, losing it…)

      3. The “point” being that the entire concept is just fucking nonsense. Reparations would immediately lead to a wholesale melt down whereby every group with a grievance will sue for “their” share of the dole. Aside from the fact that we can not possibly afford such an undertaking, it would [in addition to financial ruin] accomplish the opposite of what it pretends to want: better relations among citizens. Resentment, hate, and actual violence would more likely be the outcome.

        A better idea? Nothing is perfect, and especially not history. We have amendments, laws, and regulations to address discrimination and unfair practices to the extent government intervention can address that. Prejudice and racial beliefs are a personal matter; you will not affect that by mandate or force. People need to avail themselves of the opportunities that millions try to come here illegally to enjoy; so get the fuck over yourselves and live a decent life, and disparities will diminish.

      4. Quo Usque Tandem, some of those are fair questions to raise in the dialogue you seem not to want.

        If think he is trying to have a dialogue. It would be furthered if you responded to his questions rather than accusing him of not wanting to talk about it.

        1. LynchPin, problem is, the dialogue we need is not here on the internet. It should be conducted forthrightly in public, by policy makers and folks like Coates, who quantify claims and back them with specifics.

          But lest I seem to duck your challenge, however little it contributes: my preference would be reparations for only two groups?the two with the strongest moral claims. Those are the poor descendants of black people enslaved in the U.S., and American Indians with specific history which makes amelioration appropriate?which will be most of them. I would exclude all other groups. Note also that those criteria exclude already-successful blacks, and blacks without a heritage of slavery in the U.S.

          I would use average family wealth (based as a statistical range around the mean) as an additional limiter, and use the same measure as the basis for deciding when the program had done enough. I would not support lump sum payments, but would support continuing economic supports for those who qualify, with at least some of the supports targeted toward specific goals such as education.

          On the payment side, I would insist that no attempt be made to target particular persons or groups as “guilty” parties. Payment should be a national obligation, and funded according to means agreed by Congress.

          I don’t presume to know how other particulars should be worked out among various parties.

          Does that provide what you wanted?

          1. I don’t think it’s a good idea, but I appreciate you responding

          2. “I would use average family wealth (based as a statistical range around the mean) as an additional limiter, and use the same measure as the basis for deciding when the program had done enough.”

            And there you have one of the worst effects of such programs. You are basically proposing to have the government keep giving money to black communities conditional upon them being poorer than non-black communities. i.e you are encouraging them to stay poorer.

            It is about incentives not intentions . Reparations give the wrong incentive.

            The governement can do one of two things:
            1- treat everyone equally and let people fall where they may on the wealth scale

            or

            2- try to equalize outcomes by treating people unequally

            You are arguing for approach 2. Libertarians here tell you approach 1 is correct. Citizens should be equal under the law. No preferred castes, races or people . You cannot atone for past sins by committing newer sins.

  26. Justice is about holding individuals responsible for choosing to violate someone’s rights. The individuals who violated the rights of slaves all died long ago. The slaves whose rights were violated all died long ago. Holding people responsible who never chose to violate anyone’s rights is the definition of injustice–and that’s what reparations for slavery would do.

    1. Ken Shultz, does that mean reparations for recent sequelae of slavery, of the overthrow of Reconstruction, of Jim Crow, and of post-Jim Crow racial bias policies, should all be on the table? Or are you just against having the discussion?

      1. OK, let us discuss – how would it work in practice without screwing up?

        1. Let’s start by asking:

          -What markers should we set for success?

          -How do we know when enough reparations are paid?

          1. Asking for specifics is like waving garlic at a vampire.

            1. That line is worth stealing Eddy, thank you.

          2. Eddy, I just answered both those questions, and a few others, in a 4:29 reply to LynchPin.

            I should add here that I am in full sympathy with anyone who thinks policies of affirmative action and diversity have been horribly mismanaged. (I don’t agree that affirmative action for blacks hasn’t been constructive?even mismanaged, its results have justified the cost). But an unfortunate consequence of that mismanagement is that looked-for results have been less than hoped for, and delivered later, or not at all.

            I do suggest the right reparations program?if it succeeds?puts in place a reasonable basis for notably scaling back or eliminating both those other policies. But I wouldn’t look for that opportunity less than decades from now. So a need to reform affirmative action and diversity now ought to be recognized as part of enacting any reparations policy. There will no easy, quick, or inexpensive solution to a problem so long in the making, and so long overlooked, postponed, and mismanaged.

      2. The individuals responsible for violating people’s rights should be the ones held responsible for violating people’s rights–as a general rule.

        If the living individuals whose rights were violated by other individuals want to take the responsible parties to civil court, they should be free to do so. That’s why the courts are there.

        Punishing people who have done nothing illegal or wrong is the definition of injustice. Why pretend otherwise? I will not pretend that reparations for slavery is anything but injustice.

        Those who advocate for reparations for slavery are advocating for injustice.

      3. We are “having the discussion” but you are choosing to not listen; REPARATIONS ARE A BAD IDEA. Several reasons have been listed but you clearly do not want to address those, other than “but it’s not fair” and “what about…?” I have learned that the phrase “we need to have a discussion” = “I don’t like the outcome so I’m going to keep trying to change it with whatever I can pull out of my ass.”

        If that is not good enough for you, I’m am fairly certain that the Federal Judiciary, as it is being filled by Trump/ Federalist Society recommended jurists, will shoot it down even if an unhinged Congress were to pass and some lunatic were to sign it into law it to secure votes.

        You know, natural law, original intent, all that stuff that oft runs counter to such “bold” ideas about equity and “justice.”

        1. Quo Usque Tandem, your taste for constitutional brinksmanship is noted. Long-term, I expect you will be in the minority, which puts you at a notable disadvantage in that kind of contest. For my own part, I’m conservative enough to prefer to avoid that kind of confrontation, even with a prospect of winning it. You never know what the future will bring, so you ought to be cautious about suggesting methods you wouldn’t like applied against you.

  27. The idea that the descendants, many generations later, of wronged people are somehow owed something by the descendants of the people who wronged them (or some people who look kind of like them) is simply wrong and only creates new injustice.
    People talk about it as if the wealth and benefits gained from the labor of slaves is still somehow all and only in the hands of white people. Which is ridiculous. All of that wealth has been out there in the broader economy and benefits anyone with the skills and motivation to take advantage of it. A successful black person is reaping the benefits of long-ago slavery just as much as any white person living today. Maybe there are a few people around today whose fortunes were founded on slavery, but those must be pretty rare. Family fortunes don’t usually last that long.

    1. A successful black person is reaping the benefits of long-ago slavery just as much as any white person living today.

      Zeb, statistics on family wealth today seem strongly to contradict that assertion. Maybe there is something wrong with that conclusion. Do you know of any reason why there shouldn’t be a public debate about that?

      1. “Do you know of any reason why there shouldn’t be a public debate about that?”

        Yes, because complete and open debate is neither desired nor allowed. Certain causes of the current disparities are forbidden topics of discussion, and you know it.

      2. How so?

        It is true that Blacks are on average worse off in this country than whites. And a big part of that is the history of systemic racism and personal bigotry. That’s a separate issue. When people talk about reparations, they usually talk about it in terms of what was taken from slaves. And they talk about it as if every white person alive today benefits from that an no black people do. That is what I’m saying is wrong. To the extent that that wealth still exists today, it is not still in the hands of the descendants of white slave owners. It is everywhere. There are lots of reasons why wealth disparities exist, but white people having all the money from slavery isn’t really a significant one.

        1. Zeb, presumably you would agree that black people not having all the money from slavery, Jim Crow exploitation, and post-Jim Crow segregation does have something to do with wealth disparities?

    2. Any benefits of slavery were wiped out by the Civil War.

      1. I think that’s pretty likely.

  28. 600,000 dead and post war Reconstruction wasn’t enough?

    The truth is they aren’t seeking reparations for slavery. They are seeking it for the Jim Crow era. A more defensible, but much less compelling idea.

    1. TL/DR. Why should New York pay reparations? They were not a slave state and they fought to free the slaves.

      1. Yeah, but their governor, Horatio Seymour, didn’t like the war being fought for that reason.

        But it *was* ultimately fought to free the slaves.

        But subjectively, many soldiers and war leaders didn’t like that objective.

        So do we go by intentions or actions?

    2. What’s defensible about it?

    3. Bubba, granted that a century of systematic deprivation of wealth by means of unequal treatment under the law, is less oppressive than that plus chattel slavery, does that really make the former uncompelling?

      But I thank you at least for noticing, as so many commenting here have not, that recent and present deprivations are a major focus of a reparations debate.

      1. Sure, I see your point. Practical politics wise, first thing that happens is, rich blacks are excluded. Why should poor and middle-class folks pay more taxes to enrich Clarence Thomas and over-paid black sports super-heroes, and over-paid actors, actresses, music stars, porn stars, etc.? First thing that happens, is they are excluded…

        Then who are we left with? The poor! And from the article… I am WAY glad they included this point…

        “Forbes columnist Kyle Smith adds that people who receive windfalls (e.g., winning the lottery) have no better long-term financial prospects than those who never hit the jackpot. If the goal is to close a financial gap, then this won’t do it.”

        Laziness isn’t fixed by throwing money at lazy people. You want to START to fix racial injustice? Start by stopping the racial injustice which comes from Government Almighty itself, which includes… ‘A) Way disparate impact of the drug war, and …. ‘B) Licensing (degrees, credentialism, over-regulation, etc.) that stands in the way of poor people getting an honest job.

        1. “You want to START to fix racial injustice? Start by stopping the racial injustice which comes from Government Almighty itself, which includes..”
          I think you have the answer to leveling the playing field without it involving huge sums of money that the majority may resent spending. But Libertarians have tried to have this discussion for forty + years but, unfortunately, very few want to have it.

        2. Yeah, sadly, I suspect Dave Chappelle had it about right when he did a reparations sketch on his show. Rich and middle class blacks will pocket the money and carry on like nothing happened. Poor people will, for the most part, spend it on dumb crap because most poor people (of all races) don’t know what to do with a bunch of money.

      2. Fair enough.

        The next question, I think, should be whether reparations would do anything to rectify the situation, to undo the damage done by generations of systematic discrimination. I tend to think it would make very little difference. The worst damage done to black communities isn’t financial, but cultural. Generations of segregation and discrimination followed by generations of welfare dependency have taken a pretty nasty toll. Throwing money at it isn’t going to fix that problem and could make it worse in some ways.

        I don’t know what the answer is. I suspect that the best answer is to stop systemic discrimination (which has pretty much happened in the US), stop doing things that actively promote poverty and cultural decline in black communities and give it time. Undoing the effects of all the terrible history won’t happen overnight. And it might not look like what people imagine.

        1. No reparations…ever.

  29. I fully support reparations as long as they are targeted. Every person who was a slave should receive $1 billion from their former owner.

    1. I’ll second that proposal!

  30. A family or clan shares the responsibility for a crime or act committed by one of its members – SIPPENHAFT!

  31. he called for a “national reckoning” about this stain on America’s history.

    Yet another “National Conversation”? Okay, Aaron A. Aardvark, you have the floor for five minutes.

    1. A stain? We fought a freaking WAR to end it! No other country did that!

      1. Nah. We fought a freaking war to establish that the US was a roach motel: You can check in, but you can’t ever check out.

        Seriously, look at some of what Lincoln said early in the war. He was offering to give up on opposing slavery to get the Confederates to return.

        Read the Emancipation Proclamation: “”That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free;”

        He didn’t free slaves in Union territory, and make no mistake, there WERE slaves in Union territory.

        The South absolutely seceded over slavery, but the war was over secession, not slavery.

  32. The conversation that should really be had is the one about the complete loss of the Judeo-Christian value of forgiveness. Ancestors of slaves need to forgive the evil white people, stop blaming them for their problems, and move on with their lives. If they cannot or will not, their victim-hood will never end and they will always be malcontent with their lot in life. MLK basically taught this. He was against handouts and spoke about the need for forgiveness.

  33. >>>Instead, he called for a “national reckoning” about this stain on America’s history.

    he wasn’t there neither was I neither was any person alive he can fuck right on off.

  34. What are they teaching ended the Civil War in schools today? Was it a black uprising that threw off the yolk of oppression? Because last I checked it was several million white guys marching south to kill a million or so other white guys, with perhaps 10% of the Union Army being black (maybe… I’m being generous to some historians). In any event, by my count, it was about 500,000 white Union soldiers (probably closer to a million) who died and another quarter million southern whites who died – and also had their homes burned, their families widowed, and undoubtedly raped/killed in some cases, etc.

    My question for the reparations crowd – do descendants of the Union soldiers get a pass? Or just fuck them, too, hunh? They’re just as guilty as everyone else, eh? And if a quarter of a million dead and Atlanta in smoldering ruins isn’t enough, what is? How many more southerners should we kill before the reparations crowd is happy?

    This “original sin” nonsense is the most morally bankrupt idea ever floated and its proponents should be beaten every time it comes into their brain, much less onto their lips. Assholes, every last of them.

    1. And I’ll be embarrassed for Reason for even giving this idea one shred of legitimacy, since they don’t seem to have the embarrassment gene; or anyone with enough intellectual candlepower or moral clarity to see and articulate just how morally abhorrent this idea is. What a sick, pathetic joke.

      1. Did you read any of the article? Or do you think that Reason should just pretend that there aren’t people who take the idea of reparations seriously?

    2. “My question for the reparations crowd – do descendants of the Union soldiers get a pass?”

      These Union soldiers were paid for their service. And they received pensions, as well. Slaves receive no wages or pensions as they are somebody’s property.

      1. The dead got a pension? Really? Care to provide some cite for your lie?
        And so now their descendants have to pay even though they gave their lives to end slavery?

        Please answer that – and try to do so without lying this time.

        1. I don’t believe the dead got a pension. Pensions are typically given to people who are retired, such as soldiers, after the fighting has stopped and they’ve left the service. Slaves do not receive pensions, because, they don’t typically retire, and they are slaves, somebodies property.

          ” And so now their descendants have to pay even though they gave their lives to end slavery?”

          Would you prefer if only those from the south were to pay? Or those from the south and the Union soldiers who didn’t give their lives, ie survived the war? I’m not sure what you are suggesting here.

          1. “I don’t believe the dead got a pension”

            So you were lying.

            1. Soldiers get wages and a pension. Soldiers who are dead and slaves receive neither. I hope that clears things up for you.

              1. Wodows got the soldiers pensiosn, you retard mtruman.

    3. “do descendants of the Union soldiers get a pass? ”

      Do they get a check?

      Reckonings have debits and credits.

  35. Your first mistake was calling Coates or Brooks intelligent.

    The next is that 98% of black Americans aren’t eligible for reparations, which are usually awarded to those who have suffered actual loss. A good example would be the Japanese-Americans who were illegally interned during WW2. Their grandchildren who weren’t even born at the time weren’t eligible to receive compensation.

    Anyone who was actually a slave has been dead for a long time. The number of black Americans who suffered from active government repression is nearly non-existent, due to people aging out. Even young activists from the 1960s are in their 80s by now.

    There is one group of black Americans who are arguably eligible for reparations, but they’re steadily disappearing as the group ages. I leave the identification of this group to the reader.

    1. “Yeah, those experiments were pretty fucked up” – Josef Mengele about what the US did that you’re referencing.

    2. “A good example would be the Japanese-Americans who were illegally interned during WW2. Their grandchildren who weren’t even born at the time weren’t eligible to receive compensation.”

      Bringing them into the “discussion” would certainly muddy the waters quite a bit given that these descendants are doing better than the national average in terms of wealth and income.

    3. What about the long term effects of institutional racism borne from 400 years of slavery? People’s conditioning has been conditioned.

      1. What about the long term effects of institutional racism borne from 400 years of slavery? People’s conditioning has been conditioned.

        So a business searching for leadership and initiative should discriminate against blacks to avoid this slavery “conditioning”? The same for politics?

        This will end well. Who are you arguing for?

      2. I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in.

    4. Coates and Brooks are almost certainly both of above average intelligence. Stop assuming that being smart and having stupid ideas are mutually exclusive. It takes smart people to really articulate dumb ideas like this.

      I’m not saying these clowns are our great thinkers or anything. But they aren’t stupid.

  36. Every time a Democrat says “reparations” Trump gets 10,000 more votes.

    Ah the good old days when it was only white progressives who were demanding politically suicidal things from candidates.

    1. Tony is finally learning.

      1. Yeah; he so often invites abuse and vitriol that I begin to suspect it’s a fetish [with Hihn there is no doubt about this]; then once in a while he will say something that actually makes sense.

      2. Agree. Quite surprising, actually.

      3. “Tony is finally learning.”

        Now it’s your turn LC.

        1. Eric wont ever learn. Trolls always have that issue. Its a script limitation.

    2. “Every time a Democrat says “reparations” Trump gets 10,000 more votes.”

      Isn’t it grand?

  37. I have two questions for the slavery reparations crowd.
    1. Shouldn’t this be worldwide, and how much will Egypt pay to Israel for the 400 years?
    2. Will the African countries that actually enslaved blacks be required to pay as much or more than the Europeans who bought the already enslaved blacks and brought them to America, and how much will be allocated to the Americans who merely bought and worked the already enslaved blacks?

    1. And since those people sold into slavery and imported into America now have a higher standard of living than if their ancestors had not been made slaves, they have to pay a remainder tax to stay in the country and retain their citizenship.

      /s

      1. Bottom line, the descendants of African slaves taken to the US *won the lottery* compared to the descendants of African slaves who remained in Africa.

        Should there be a special tax on them to pay back that windfall to their benefactors?

    2. Egypt needs to pay Jews reparations too.

  38. Reparations should take the form of the federal government legalizing the possession and use of marijuana for all adults, and legalizing the sale and distribution of marijuana for black-owned businesses only (for some fairly lengthy period of time). Takes advantage of the sea change in attitudes toward legalization and pot use to both increase overall freedom and direct a ton of cash into African-American pockets through voluntary transactions. Because the transfers are voluntary, there’s no “my ancestors weren’t slaveholders!” problem. Because it requires recipients to provide a product, it encourages long-term economic development in black communities and there’s less of a sense that we’re just dumping money on a structural problem without fixing it.

    Perfect? Of course not. But better than stalemate, if you ask me.

    1. So here are two sets of neighbors that I have.

      1. Mixed-race guy. White wife.

      2. White woman, mixed race son, no husband around.

      Could either of these families qualify to run one of these businesses that you suggest?

      If not, why not?

      1. No, because my wife is black and I want to artificially lower competition, as would anyone who’s ever studied business.

        Which is also why things like this end poorly.

      2. I don’t know. Those seem like decisions at the margins that could reasonably go either way. I do know that there are already programs–public and private–that provide services to minority-owned businesses, so these are not questions that are unique to this context.

        More to the point, there are hundreds of millions of people in this country, and tens of millions of African Americans. No idea is going to be perfect in the sense of perfectly including the right people and excluding everyone else. The question is whether it’s worth doing, given the costs and benefits.

    2. Because the transfers are voluntary, there’s no “my ancestors weren’t slaveholders!” problem.

      Right, there’s only a racial discrimination problem. But since you’re saying that’s no big deal carry on.

      Hey, wait a minute..

      1. I don’t know if I’m smart enough to understand your point. Are you saying it’s wrong to discriminate against white people by denying them the ability to run marijuana businesses? Because that’s true! But – if that is your point – I would respond that (1) the discrimination is less pernicious than it might be because we’re talking about a situation in which the white people in question are actually more free than they are in the status quo (purchase and use of marijuana is legalized for them), (2) the ancillary economic benefits of legalization will help white people too (less crime, more economic churn, increased wealth), and (3) the relatively slight discrimination cost is outweighed by the benefit of repairing decades of systemic discrimination the other way.

  39. Someone should mention that the only reason this is being talked about seriously at this point is because it’s been taken up as a wedge issue in the Democrat primaries. If you want to win in Democrat primaries with an important black constituency, then you may need to come out in favor of reparations for slavery.

    It’s just a wedge issue–which are meant to drive a wedge between different factions within the Democratic electorate.

    This is like the Terri Schiavo case. If you’re against killing innocent women then you have to vote for Bush! There weren’t any larger principles at stake. It was just a wedge issue.

    If McConnell brought up reparations for slavery in the Senate tomorrow, like he did with the Green New Deal the other week, none of the Democrats would vote for it–just like they wouldn’t vote for the Green New Deal. The Democrats don’t actually plan to pay reparations for slavery. They just want to use it as a wedge issue.

    1. ” the only reason this is being talked about seriously at this point is because it’s been taken up as a wedge issue in the Democrat primaries”

      This strikes me as nonsense. Talk about reparations stretches back to the 1860s, and has never been resolved. To suggest that David Brookes is writing about the subject to cement black support in Democratic primaries is ludicrous.

      1. Talk about reparations stretches back to the 1860s, and has never been resolved.

        The issue is unresolved only if you believe “resolve” must mean paid. When everyone involved has been dead 100 years the issue was resolved. The answer was no.

        1. The 40 acres in question didn’t die out. It’s still there. What’s wrong with returning it to the descendants of those who were given it in the aftermath of the civil war? Or perhaps you feel that Johnson’s decision was the correct one.

          1. What’s wrong with returning it to the descendants of those who were given it in the aftermath of the civil war?

            a) How can we “return” something to someone they never had? Contrary to your mythology the 40 acres and a mule was never enacted or executed.

            b) What’s wrong with it is taking it from someone else. It’s revealing you don’t recognize this as a wrong.

            1. ” How can we “return” something to someone they never had?”

              I suggest returning the land, the 40 acre parcels, to the descendants of those to whom it was given in the aftermath of the civil war, only to be snatched from them by president Johnson.

              ” What’s wrong with it is taking it from someone else.”

              Who was wrong? Lincoln or Johnson? They both took land.

              1. I suggest returning the land, the 40 acre parcels, to the descendants of those to whom it was given in the aftermath of the civil war, only to be snatched from them by president Johnson.

                So to no one then since this didn’t actually happen. Knock yourself out.

                1. Sure it happened. Not every slave received the promised land, but it had begun, and was underway until Johnson reversed the policy. Why would he reverse something that never happened?

      2. Because people have talked about it since the 1860s, we’re not talking about it now because of the Democratic primaries?

        Running around out in left field again?

        1. We’ve always talked about it. Not because of Democratic primaries which don’t take place until next year, in any case. We still discuss the issue because it remains unresolved. The notion that David Brookes is writing about reparations because he wants to garner black support in next year’s Democratic primaries is ludicrous.

          1. We’ve talked about it because some people won’t admit it’s resolved, and find it politically useful to stir up racial tensions by encouraging blacks to think they’re going to get something that they are never, ever going to get.

            Reparations are a demand that people who properly regard themselves as innocent confess guilt. You can’t pay “reparations” for somebody else’s sin, guilt is built into the concept.

            Well, I’m not guilty, and I’m not paying. And I don’t care if blacks threaten a race war if they don’t get reparations.

            Bring it.

            1. “some people won’t admit it’s resolved”

              If some people won’t admit it’s resolved, then it’s not resolved. I don’t believe David Brookes is trying to garner black support for next year’s Democratic primaries, or that he is trying to stir up racial tensions, or that he is encouraging people into thinking they are going to get something they will never get.

              “Well, I’m not guilty”

              Nobody said you were. You are still responsible for the actions of your government. Your children, for example, will still be on the hook for government debt accumulated during your lifetime.

              “Bring it.”

              Stirring up racial tensions is a time honored tradition in America.

              1. “If some people won’t admit it’s resolved, then it’s not resolved.”

                That’s wrong.

                1. If it’s wrong, it’s not resolved.

                  1. We wont let retarded people dictate how the USA is run.

                    No reparations….ever.

            2. When did it actually get solved? This history of this topic has always been “screw you, get over it” from the majority white group. It doesn’t seem that black people found that to be a reasonable (pun intended) resolution to the issue.

              1. This history of this topic has always been “screw you, get over it” from the majority white group. It doesn’t seem that black people found that to be a reasonable (pun intended) resolution to the issue.

                Well, in about 10-20 years the country won’t even be majority white, or so I’ve been told, and Hispanics aren’t going to give two shits about black people once they’re the plurality. Hell, their gangs have done a pretty effective job of ethnically cleansing black people out of their own neighborhoods.

                So yeah, get over it–because there’s no way to implement the kind of Leninist egalitarian system that left-wing blacks have been demanding since DuBois, without screwing over someone else. And that fact is why it won’t do anything except further divide people.

                1. So at least we can agree that the situation was never resolved. Mainly because then, like now, the majority group of white people who benefited from black servitude have always decided that the blacks should just get over it.

                  1. Mainly because then, like now, the majority group of white people who benefited from black servitude have always decided that the blacks should just get over it.

                    Even more so now.

                    Get over it–because if you don’t stop threatening to rob people using the government as your mafia enforcer, you might not like the consequences. And when white people are no longer a majority, you definitely aren’t getting shit because you’ll never be more than 15% of the population.

                    1. Exactly. Hispanics are not fans of abortions, so their population gets bigger and bigger an pd bigger.

                      Black Americans have aborted so many babies thanks to their white Democrat masters that they will never be a majority in the USA.

                  2. Jews got over being slaves to black africans.

                    Whites got over being slaves to black North Africans.

                    No reparations…ever.

    2. “If McConnell brought up reparations for slavery in the Senate tomorrow, like he did with the Green New Deal the other week, none of the Democrats would vote for it–just like they wouldn’t vote for the Green New Deal. ”

      Make us proud, Cocaine Mitch!

  40. Here’s a libertarian angle Reason also missed: slavery was a government supported institution, as were Jim Crow laws. The vast majority of whites in America never owned slaves and had nothing to do with it. Yet here we are talking about punishing who? The overwhelming majority of white Americans who had nothing to do with slavery (and, as I note above, who also laid down their lives to end it when the Supreme Court fucked up in 1857).

    So yes, what a wonderful libertarian idea to punish taxpayers who are perfectly blameless – either in actuality or morally – for the “sins” of a miniscule portion of the population who benefitted, which included members of the political class.

    Great job, Reason Staff, way to really push the libertarian ideas forward. Yes, let’s give Coates’ and Brooks’ morally bankrupt ideas credence by not pointing out that it is racist to its core – race guilt is now perfectly libertarian, eh?

    1. +10

    2. “punishing who? The overwhelming majority of white Americans who had nothing to do with slavery”

      Or the large chunk of them who are the descendants of those who liberated the slaves from slavery, and granted them US citizenship?

      1. +100

  41. Reparations are already being paid (billions maybe trillions of dollars) by the net tax payers to the extent that the “war on poverty” has financed – for example 77% of African ? Americans being born out of wed lock in 2015. Bonus points for the fact that the public schools are now, for the most part, a train wreck.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ African-American_family_structure

    1. Broken link.

    2. So true, WJack.

    3. Interesting point.

      What are the historical net government transfer payments between the descendants of slaves, and those who are not descendants of slaves?

  42. Forty acres and a mule were thought to be adequate reparations at the end of the civil war and were promised to freed slaves by General Sherman. War surplus materials that would help with home building were also to be thrown into the bargain. President Johnson reversed this and saw that the land was returned to its former white owners. Perhaps a modern president could reverse Johnson’s reversal and re-institute Lincoln’s original policy.

    1. Agreed. 40 acres and a mule for every surviving slave.

      1. To paraphrase Faulkner, you may be finished with slavery, but slavery isn’t finished with you.

        1. So working your own farm is slavery?

          1. To quote Nixon, What?

        2. Slavery better be finished with me. I’m originally from Michigan, which was never a slave state, none of my ancestors lived in the US prior to the Civil war, and there’s no way I will EVER pay reparations for something I didn’t do.

          Period.

          1. “and there’s no way I will EVER pay reparations for something I didn’t do.”

            It’s what your government did that’s at issue here.

            1. It’s what your government did that’s at issue here.

              So?

              1. “So?”

                So you are on the hook for the actions of your government. So are your children and their children, too.

                1. So you are on the hook for the actions of your government. So are your children and their children, too.

                  Sounds like question-begging.

                  1. “Sounds like question-begging.”

                    But it isn’t. Your children will be responsible for the actions your government takes today. And you are responsible for the actions of the government taken in the times of your ancestors. Whether or not you personally owned slaves is not relevant.

                    1. And you are responsible for the actions of the government taken in the times of your ancestors. Whether or not you personally owned slaves is not relevant.

                      Nope, sorry.

                2. The government also liberated slaves and granted them citizenship.
                  How much is that worth in credit?

            2. Actually, it’s what European colonizers did. You just want to avoid admitting it.

              1. No, I don’t mind admitting it. Some European colonizers were into slavery, others were against it. The US government and its organs was positively disposed towards slavery until the civil war.

                1. Abolitionists in northern states were against slavery.

                  Slavery was a divisive issue in the USA.

            3. The CSA does not exist anymore and they ran slaves and then attacked the United States of America.

              Let ancestors of slaves get reparations from the Confederate States of America.

              Good luck dipshits.

  43. The second President Johnson’s “war on poverty” is an ongoing, unmitigated disaster (at least billions of dollars) for the net tax payers who are paying for the “war” and it has had a tremendous negative impact on those groups it was supposed to help. Google out of wedlock birth rates for the math.

  44. If one wanted to destroy the Democrats from within, they would push for reparations in the current political climate. The silent majority is cowed in the public square but not on the anonymous voting ballet.

    1. *ballot (jfc)

      1. “As a modern dancer, I will express my views on voting, with this piece I call ‘wiping my ass on a ballot.'”

  45. Brilliant Idea!!! Let’s pay out reparations to every group that has ever been oppressed in any way by cis-hetero Anglo Males. A partial list would include
    Blacks
    Latinos
    Asians
    Amerindian
    Jews
    LGBTQ persons
    Irish
    Italians
    Poles
    Germans

    If I wanted to expand the list to include micro aggressions, I would count Greek-Americans too, because I am frankly tired of being asked what place has the best gyros and baklava.

    The end result would be that the government would be completely broke and unable to enforce any laws or launch any military adventures. A libertarian dream come true!

    1. I’ve got Irish and German in my lineage. By God, I want my piece of the handout pie!

    2. Don’t forget white beta males.

    3. I’m a woman, you forgot gender (women). 🙂

  46. Oh, and I forgot to include all WOMEN on my list

    1. I guess I’ll have to start identifying as a chick so I can get my share.

    2. Remember Clinton…white women are slaves to their white male husbands and vote accordingly. Nope.. cross woman off of the reparations list.

      1. Hillary was definitely enslaved by Bill. Why else would she have stuck with him after Monica?

  47. So the soultion is to bring back slavery? Enacting White’s labor to enrich Blacks. Sounds legit.

  48. So, would descendants of blacks who owned slaves have to pay descendants of those who were actually slaves? If my predecessors did not come to the US until after slavery was abolished, would I be exempt from having to pay my share of reparations? Also, we need to subtract out the disproportionate share of welfare benefits, as well as financial gains through “affirmative action” and other set-asides, blacks have received since gaining their freedom. Oh, wait – taking these into account, blacks may actually owe money.

    1. ” Also, we need to subtract out the disproportionate share of welfare benefits,”

      You don’t seriously believe that people benefit from welfare, do you?

      “The second President Johnson’s “war on poverty” is an ongoing, unmitigated disaster (at least billions of dollars) for the net tax payers who are paying for the “war” and it has had a tremendous negative impact on those groups it was supposed to help. Google out of wedlock birth rates for the math.”

      If we don’t give them what they want soon, they’ll be demanding reparations for all the damage inflicted on them by welfare. Then where would we be? Even WORSE!

  49. The reparations could be paid for by taxing political contributions at 400%.
    My experience is that politics is more harmful than sugar, so – – – –

  50. And yet it’s not important enough for them to sart a Go Fund Me account for it.

  51. The whole “reparations for slavery” thing depends on the unspoken assumption of “anti-black prejudice exists because blacks were once slaves.” Which is not the case. If anything, it reverses cause and effect.

    A more serious case could be made for reparations for Jim Crow, but that’s not nearly as “sexy” as Slavery! – and it would reflect badly on such Progressive icons as Woodrow Wilson and FDR.

  52. Related to reparations, its trending on the left to quote “brilliant marxist” sociologists. This is perhaps, the most incredible thing I’ve read coming out of Academia. Who knew, we can all make 25% constant returns on the backs of the poor: (comments are worth reading).
    This:
    https://www.citylab.com/equity/
    2019/03/housing-rent-landlords-poverty-
    desmond-inequality-research/585265/

    I think reparations (when the democrats import enough voters through illegal immigration and refugees to control power) will come in the form of federal mandatory Section 8 percentage (government controlled housing). Basically, a seizure of physical property. In Spain, they are taxing bank owned (foreclosures) as a form of mandatory housing for those they want free housing. Another commielab post:
    https://www.citylab.com/equity/2019/03/barcelona
    -affordable-housing-spain-
    apartment-rental-fines/584902/

    1. I unable to post the entire links, but they are WELL worth reading.

      1. Edit: “I’m”

  53. 800,000 men died in the Civil War that you’re reparation. And if we do get suckered into paying it should be a one-way ticket back to Africa because you’re no American.

  54. If they would completely get rid of race as a category for everything and eliminate all government programs targeted at race, I would not have a problem with reparations.

    1. Once you pay the Danegeld, you never get rid of the Dane.

  55. Any dollar amount given for reparations would be irrelevant. Even if we gave all 37 million blacks in America $250k each (spending $9.25 trillion if I did that right) we’d be right back where we are now in a few generations as magically that money goes away and we get back to the wealth distribution again looking quite similar to how it does now.

    1. I wouldn’t. I’d open a Cadillac dealership right next to my liquor store/BBQ Pit and clean up.

    2. Even if we gave all 37 million blacks in America $250k each (spending $9.25 trillion if I did that right) we’d be right back where we are now in a few generations

      A few generations? Shit, we’d be right back where we started in less than a year. Guaranteed.

      That’s the thing that money-grubbing dorks like Coates can’t comprehend–the very things they argue are destroying the black community won’t be solved with a one-time or even multi-year lottery for black people. They cry about “white privilege” in terms other than money, but when you get right down to the nuts, they reveal that they think money is the only thing they need.

      Reparations like Coates wants to implement would be the Kansas City schools experiment on a nationwide scale–a bunch of money shoveled into the furnace with little to no improvement on the back end.

  56. t’s hard to believe that smart people such as Ta-Nehisi Coates

    You’ve lost me

  57. It’s an absurd proposal not even worthy of discussion. Makes the green new deal look like sound policy.

    1. GReen New Deal
      Reparations
      Medicare for All
      Free college for all
      Abortion on demand with no restrictions
      Mike whitey pay for it

      There you have the 2020 DEM platform, folks

      1. I still say older white voters have a good chance to win in 2020. After that, a coalition of today’s minorities plus the young and feminist will have the advantage. Laugh while you can, monkey boy!

        1. Yep-and the first thing they will do is seek to punish their oppressors, then turn on each other over who is more deserving of the largesse. it won’t be pretty

          1. Foreigners the world over will take comfort in the sight of chickens coming home to roast. So there’s that.

  58. Affirmative action was intended by some to serve as a reparations of sort, but look at what liberals did to that:

    “Why affirmative action failed black families where it matters most” http://malemattersusa.wordpres…..-families/

    This is not what you may think it is.

  59. “We’re a nation coming apart at the seams,” Brooks wrote. “The African-American experience is somehow at the core of this fragmentation?”

    Bull. What’s at the core is a refusal to apply intelligence to to our problems, opting for hysteria and emotion instead.

    1. The Founding Fathers applied all the intelligence they could muster to work this out and they failed. Giving hysteria and emotion a shot seems to be the next logical step. Further steps might include a roll of the dice or consulting the Tarot.

  60. As with any individual, the degree to which the experience of Ta-Nehisi Coates is representative of “The Black Experience” in America is debatable.

  61. I have traced my ancestry in this country back to the early 1600s and nowhere can I find a direct ancestor that own a slave. Now we all know that various indian tribes had slaves, jewish and arab settlers had slaves and hell even free blacks had slaves. We all know that rich northerners had slaves brought over to sell to rich southerners. For well over 50 years my tax dollars have helped pay for social engineering programs that were suppose to elevate blacks to be able complete with whites although I always believed that blacks were more than capable of elevating themselves. Now me may very well owe reparations to the indians but it is not my fault if people drop out of school then struggle the rest of their lives. My advice is get over the pity party and stop voting Democrat because they are the political descendants that were the slave masters of todays blacks great great great grand parents.

    1. ” Now me may very well owe reparations to the indians ”

      Why would you think that? There are treaties between the Indian nations and the US government. Indians would be quite happy if the government were to keep up their end of the deal. They don’t need reparations.

  62. I have dead ancestors who “reckoned” with the National disgrace. Let’s give money to the descendants of Irish salves who were sent here by the Brits, too. Gimme some of that tax money just sitting around looking for a wallet. Idiocy!!!

    1. “Let’s give money to the descendants of Irish salves who were sent here by the Brits, too. ”

      Irish slaves were worthless and produced nothing of value. If anything, it’s their descendants who owe the rest of us money.

      1. Ever ride a train lady?

  63. But consider the glorious “reparations bureau” set up to decide who gets given to and who taken from .

    Magnificent munificence .

  64. “It’s hard to believe that smart people such as Ta-Nehisi Coates and David Brooks don’t understand the tinderbox that their idea would ignite.
    Steven Greenhut”

    It’s hard to believe that a journalist can be such a dolt that he doesn’t realize that igniting the tinderbox is the *goal*.

    The Left sows the fear, hatred, and resentment of identity politics to divide and conquer us.
    They are a malignant societal cancer.

    1. Bingo. And we shouldn’t even talk about. We shouldn’t debate that.

  65. A question: My great-great grandfather, who came here as a child in 1841, a vehemently anti-slavery German Lutheran, was drafted in 1862. He had to hire a substitute, since his father was in poor health, and his siblings were all women. The next year he was drafted again, because the laws were written that those who had not done service in person had not fulfilled their requirements. He hired another substitute. He lived to be 78 years old. He was in debt until he was 73, paying the mortgages incurred by those two substitutes. Fifty years after the war before he finished paying. How much reparations do I owe?

    1. As much as they can squeeze out of you, forever and ever.

    2. How much ya got?

    3. The fact you agree to pay means you will have to pay more.

  66. Watching these dems fall over each other to please al sharpton is a mix of hilarious and sad. Cuck competition

  67. 1. Even if reparations is the right thing to do, “we” (the Federal Govt) have no money to pay them.
    2. Who should receive them? Any descendant of any slave? Is it going to be proportional to your ancestry? Isn’t that racist?
    3. Who should pay them? Everyone? The descendants of former slave owners? What if you’re descended from both? What if your ancestors fougth in the Union Army, or were abolitionists?

    1. 4. And what if my ancestors were enslaved by the Romans? Can I send a bill t the Pope?

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  70. I will quit working if its to pay for this folly and go on Social Security early. This group gets more than enough already and nothing they get is on merit.

  71. This is rambling and I eventually get to the point. (Really? We only get 1500 characters?)

    I was recently watching a movie about Aboriginal peoples in AU. And I know people who collect their artworks and stick them in museums. So I’ve thought about how different groups of people value things differently. For example, when you buy a painting from an Aboriginal, the money goes into a sort of Trust, administered by the gallery or a non-profit, to keep the money from disappearing overnight, because their culture is one of community property. If you were to hand one of them a million dollars cash, on his or her way to the store they’d be asked, by each person they met, for some of that money. And the money would be given without question. Upon arriving at the store, the artist might have a couple bucks left, and they’d think nothing of it. So whitey makes sure the artist can’t do that by holding the money in trust and doling it out a little at a time. Is that fair? Is that moral? I really can’t decide. But what it shows you is that the descendants of Europeans define “success” as independence derived from financial security, and the Aboriginals define it in a totally different way.

  72. So, this entire idea of reparations strikes me as the same sort of quandary. What is America trying to accomplish for the descendants of Africans? It’s possible that whitey has been trying to define their success in terms that are not shared or valued by the recipients of the supposed largess. Which makes it a never-ending fools errand.

    And if that possibility is denied, is that claiming that they are just too stupid to “succeed”? It’s possible that not enough of them give a damn about external measures of “success” or else they would have moved heaven and earth to attain it in the last 150 years, and they would have seen through the destructive “helping” that appears, on the surface, to have derailed so much initiative.

    Contrast the experience of the Chinese in America. Also physically distinct from Europeans, they were easy to single out for grotesquely unfair treatment. However, Chinese culture happens to define success in much the same way as Europeans do. So they just didn’t take “no” for an answer.

    I might be full of shit. Thinking out loud here.

  73. My guess, only a guess, is that the far greater majority of those leaving comments have not read Coates’s article nor do they understand his agrument is not only about slavery but about the 100 years of government enforced discrimination against black Americans, a de jure discrimination that was enforced at local, state, and federal levels and lasted until the mid-1960s and whose adverse effects permeate our contemporary world.

    Here’s a question for conservatives. What would they do if government at all levels, in league with private enterprise at all levels, intentionally discriminated against them for 100 years, forcing them to live in substandard housing, attend substandard educational institutions from elementary through high school, prevented them from attending state-run universities, refused them access to government-sponsored home mortgages, refused them the right to purchase new homes in the suburbs, did not allow them to obtain veterans benefits, prevented them from working in responsible government jobs, made them ineligible for Social Security benefits, forced them to live in segregated federal housing, etc. What remedies would conservatives pursue to right the social and economic wrongs done to them by 100 years of government action and policy? And that’s a good question for Greenhut as well.

    1. The Chinese, the Irish, Catholics, and others suffered similarly; I’m sure you have a plan to make sure *they* are all made whole.
      Alternatively, you could read most anything by Thomas Sowell and see that “blacks” were not only uniformly mistreated, but even if they were, individuals seemed to do fine.
      IOWs, fuck off, racist.

    2. Oh, and don’t bother with more BS regarding reparations to the Japanese as a result of that scumbag FDR’s internment.
      Those were not paid to anyone who had one drop of Japanese blood; they were paid to those and the direct descendants who were dispossessed by FDR.
      Just to make sure any and all racists understand…

  74. The Jim Crow laws of decades ago are probably not even a blip on the radar of the family wealth discrepancy today. There are many reasons, some of which we are not permitted to discuss. But a big one is that white people and black people tend to make different choices.

    Two 20 year old guys, one white, one black, each get a $3000.00 tax return check. The white 20 year old puts the check in his savings account towards the down payment on a house. The black 20 year old buys 22″ rims for his $500.00 car.

    Two teenage girls, one white, one black. The white teenage girl puts off having children until she is married and she does get married. The black teenage girl has 6 kids from 5 fathers and never gets married.

  75. Democrats created segregation, jim crowe laws, and the KKK. Democrats also are the party of slavery.

    Any reparations comes from taxpayers who never owned slaves and were not slaves themselves.

    Redistribution of wealth to buy votes is their goal.

  76. This is a terrible way to close a financial gap. First of all, the financial gap is not race-based, it’s how economic systems work. There has to be a financially underprivileged class otherwise nobody would do the shit work. Plenty of other races, including white people, are in the position of having to do shit work. It has nothing to do with race and everything to do with the folks who can afford half million dollar bribes to college admissions officials maintaining their elite status through any means afforded to them by their extant pile of money.

    I reject the implied idea that white people have automatically benefited from the institution of slavery as a function of their race and black people did not. If there were benefits of slavery the institution, they would have been societal benefits that are not possible to withhold from modern non-slaves. For example, if slavery was used to build a road, everyone today uses that road to get places, regardless of skin tone. Any profits derived from slavery that launched or bolstered particular family dynasties would have had benefits limited to that particular family, and any that dissolved outward would have benefited all races.

    So yeah, not in favor of reparations because it’s a pretty obviously poor argument. It’s really just a vote-buying scheme. Worse, it’s a vote buying scheme that will never ever happen because it’s such an objectively spectacularly bad idea.

  77. I be for reparations with one stipulation. Once paid the person receiving them must renounce their citizenship and leave the U.S. forever.

  78. Screwed the pooch in reconstruction. Some small gesture (much less than the term “reparations” brings to mind) amidst a larger reconciliation project could be useful though. We’re a diverse country that has seemingly never come to terms with the eternal nature of the multitudinous self-contradictions, both personal and societal, by which we are all bound up.

    1. Let’s give them England.

  79. There is a way to do reparations:
    1. You can get reparations only if you can prove you were actually a slave before the Emancipation Proclamation.
    2. You cannot participate in reparations if your family ever owned slaves, regardless of your race.
    3. You can participate in reparations if after a genetic test, you have any white ancestry, but you must pay yourself the
    reparation as your family were slave owners too.
    4. You cannot participate in reparations if you or anyone in your family has ever had any kind of priority advantage for
    being a minority.
    That should about cover it.

    1. Don’t forget to exempt everyone whose ancestors didn’t arrive here until after the Emancipation Proclamation.

      Giving or getting.

  80. What is affirmative action if not reparations. It did not make things equal it just mandated racism and change the race of the victim.

  81. Can we stop pretending that Coates is intelligent? People do the same thing with Michael Eric Dyson. Using big words to describe your stupid ideas is not intelligent and anyone that seriously suggests reparations based on collective racial guilt is an accelerationist and should be considered a terrorist.

    1. Greenhut is too much a Democrat waterboy to speak otherwise.

  82. How ’bout Reparations from blacks for the hundreds of Billions, maybe even Trillions of $$$$$$$$$$ in damages caused in Riots, Vandalism, Theft, Shoplifting, Crimes, Unpaid loans, Abusive/excessive Taxation to pay for all the Public housing/Welfare progams, etc. etc. etc. for more than 8 decades now?

  83. My question is who do you pay? You cannot pay only African Americans because they were slaves when the Chinese and Irish immigrants who built the railroads were treated no better. What about Native Americans? They experienced genocide , do we ignore them just because many tribes built casinos? There are still many thousands of poor Native Americans. There is also the problem of how to identify who to pay. There are alot of African Americans whose ancestors were never slaves because they arrived after the civil war from countries where slavery was illegal. How to do separate those people from the group to be paid? Like so many leftist notions, it sounds great until you start to focus on making it work then it becomes a huge mess quickly.

    1. that’s the problem, it never ends, humans have been killing/taking advantage of each other since before we were humans.

  84. If blacks get reparations, I also want reparations for my native american ancestors, badly treated irish ancestors, and from italians for doing my german ancestors wrong.

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